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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Dark, Fine, Brightened, Beautiful, Bright, Sharp, Shrewish, and/or Lustrous Eyes of Elizabeth Bennet

It occurred to me a few moments ago that it would be fun to collect in one place all the references to the appearance of Elizabeth Bennet's eyes in Pride & Prejudice, which, I think, most Janeites would agree are the most important and memorable eyes in all of Jane Austen's novels. It turns out that there are _eight_ such references, and here they are:

Chapter 6: ...But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of HER DARK EYES.

...."My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of FINE EYES in the face of a pretty woman can bestow."

Chapter 8: "I am afraid, Mr. Darcy," observed Miss Bingley in a half whisper, "that this adventure has rather affected your admiration of HER FINE EYES." "Not at all," he replied; "they were BRIGHTENED by the exercise."

Chapter 9: Mrs. Bennet and her daughters then departed, and Elizabeth returned instantly to Jane, leaving her own and her relations' behaviour to the remarks of the two ladies and Mr. Darcy; the latter of whom, however, could not be prevailed on to join in their censure of /her/, in spite of all Miss Bingley's witticisms on /FINE EYES/.

Chapter 10: As for your Elizabeth's picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those BEAUTIFUL EYES?" "It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their EXPRESSION, but their COLOUR and SHAPE, and the EYELASHES, SO REMARKABLY FINE, might be copied."

Chapter 18: I appeal to Mr. Darcy:—but let me not interrupt you, sir. You will not thank me for detaining you from the bewitching converse of that young lady, whose BRIGHT EYES are also upbraiding me."

Chapter 45: Her teeth are tolerable, but not out of the common way; and as for HER EYES, which have sometimes been called SO FINE, I could never see anything extraordinary in them. They have a SHARP, SHREWISH look, which I do not like at all...

Chapter 53: The colour which had been driven from her face, returned for half a minute with an additional glow, and a smile of delight added LUSTRE to HER EYES, as she thought for that space of time that his affection and wishes must still be unshaken....

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

I love this kind of collection of passages with a shared word or image.

It strikes me with this set that I would have thought that most of the comments about E's eyes were from Darcy, but it's mostly Miss Bingley's "witticisms on fine eyes" instead.